Jim Murray - vocals, percussion; John Cipollina - guitar, vocals; Gary Duncan - guitar, vocals; David Freiberg - bass, vocals; Greg Elmore - drums
This concert is among the earliest known professional live recording of the band, made in 1966 at the Fillmore Auditorium. Promoter Bill Graham recorded four shows over two days in November of that year, all of which are available at Concert Vault. Along with contemporaries Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service were among the earliest of the San Francisco "Summer of Love" bands who frequented the Avalon, the Fillmore and other area venues. Originally conceived as a band to back San Fran folk-rocker Dino Valenti (best known for writing The Youngbloods' classic "Get Together"), Quicksilver Messenger Service, had to go on without their frontman in 1965 when Valenti got busted for drugs and sent away to prison. Valenti would re-join the group later on, but not before the band made a name for themselves as one of the most popular Bay Area rock bands of the era.
This recording is the band's second set of the night, and they took the stage after an in-between performance by Muddy Waters. At the time, the band was still very much in its infancy, having yet to release an album, even though some of the members had begun working together as early as 1963. Back in 1966, when this show was recorded, the group was still feeling its way through old rock standards, classic blues numbers, and newer psychedelic originals. Kicking off with "Dino's Song," the group explores some material that was never recorded in the studio, including "Long Distance Call," "All Night Worker," and "Duncan and Brady," the song they end the set with. Another highlight is Quicksilver's rendition of "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You," a ballad also recorded by Led Zeppelin on their debut album.
Though Valenti would have considerable control over the musical direction of the band after he joined, during this mid-'60s period it appears that guitarist John Cipollina had the most input over the style of music Quicksilver recorded and performed. Cipollina spearheaded the band's idea to use dual lead guitars and would eventually leave Quicksilver in 1970 to form his own band, Copperhead. In 1989, he died at the age of 45 from emphysema, aggravated by years of respiratory problems. Bassist David Freiberg eventually left to join his friends in the Jefferson Airplane in 1972, morphing into the Jefferson Starship around the same time.
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